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Published July 15th, 2016 by

7 Practical Applications of Collaborative Software

7 Practical Applications of Collaborative Software

Collaborative software applications vary in forms and types, depending on the particular scenario it is used into. Generally, collaborative software aim to increase productivity and efficiency among work groups, especially teams that are diverse, dynamic and cross cultural. Working on a shared goal seems to be a daunting and time consuming task that involves a lot of coordination and cooperative conditions. Collaborative software simplify the workflow by establishing a common ground, or a platform, where team members can meet, exchange ideas and files, communicate and work collaboratively using the same set of tools.

Deploying Collaborative Software in Business

Collaborative software operate in two progressive steps in order to achieve success in attaining the shared or mutual set of goals that a company imposes. First, it recognizes a set of specific operational agendas like, who will comprise the team? What is our common communication medium? When is our deadline? Next, when every question about common work ethics and basic communication skills have been answered, the group can move on a more purposeful agenda by answering the “How?” set of questions. This in turn involves brainstorming and collaborative working sessions that encourage communication alongside.

Collaboration tools provide a place where the business organization members and leaders can see the bigger picture in their initiatives. By organizing all documents, communication, and people under one umbrella tool, managers can have a bird’s eye view of all work flows and processes involved. Overseeing work, or task management, can be easily rendered. Collaborative work doesn’t just rest on peer-to-peer relations, but to business-tools partnerships as well.

Deployment of collaboration tools must be dealt with both professional and human interactive approach. The idea of a successful collaboration software adoption is overcoming its technical side and instead, put emphasis on its socio-economic aspect, to make it more flexible and adaptable to the business organization. After all, collaboration softwares aim productivity for its human users, and collaboration is essentially a social matter involving professional human interaction. The key to success is for the team to be flexible enough to conform to changing priorities, responsibilities and working conditions. Collaboration tools can lighten the load by providing a single working platform for close coordination that is also rapid to deploy and be adopted.

A growing company nowadays involve remote operations and business transactions, now that consumers are becoming more demanding with their needs and its timely delivery. The internet caters to this kind of market behavior, and more web based tools are being utilized in order to have faster response. Companies facilitate remote operations better as well, and all elements and entities involved are informed faster about changes or upgrades. Collaborative software streamline this type of diverse work flow, and add more productivity enhancements by integrating office tools in its system. This way, members just log in to the system, see his agenda, work in it, send the file, communicate and his output automatically updates itself for other members to see. No need for emails or physical presence in submitting reports.

Practical Applications of Collaboration Software

Collaboration software involve many aspects in the term “working together”. It can be in the peer, inter department, intra company, or corporation levels. Working on a common objective validates the purpose of collaborative software deployed in businesses.

Practical applications of this type of business tools can be reflected from reviews of collaboration software in the internet, or by looking at these compilations of observable productivity features of collaboration software:

  1. Centralized Solutions Management

Collaboration software aim to centralize all work processes, business tools and communications under a single roof. In effect, decision making will be done in cooperation with every member of the business organization.

However, there could be arguments with this type of centralized management, but the bottomline is that a multi-faceted approach in decision making will enable a bigger picture to be formed, and multiple perspectives to be analyzed, before arriving to a sound decision. Smart decision making isn’t an overnight affair, and must be dealt with an open mind at most times, in order to arrive at a decision that is beneficial to the majority.

Solutions management nowadays are becoming more complicated, because of the growth of business networks, spanning from global clientele to global economic business relationships. This could be exhaustive in terms of resources, and might hinder opportunities to be grabbed. Coordination is one crucial aspect in enabling successful work flow and solutions management, which is solved by deploying collaborative business software, which are beneficial in remote communications and cooperative work.

Managing interdependent tasks can be done under robust communication and coordination features integrated in the collaboration software. This contributes to increased growth potential and leverage in businesses, under competitive conditions in the market.

  1. Email and Document Management

The aspect of collaborative work doesn’t necessitate working in real-time. There are also asynchronous aspects of doing collaborative work, and it includes emails and document management.

Email is a form of communication, primarily to inform, but continuous correspondence can lead to a more responsive type of communicating. Its purpose is to instill a black and white way of delivering information and file sharing, for the benefit of documentation. Collaboration software support both interactive and static correspondence, and both are easier and faster to implement because of the internet technology. This web based communication can be also used in multi platforms; desktop, or mobile, and can be accessed at any time and any place that has internet connection.

Document management pertains to files and documents shared and stored within the collaboration software. The collaborative approach can be seen by implementing common ways of updating and informing all members of the team whenever there are changes or modifications applied. Although, when working on collaborative spreadsheets, these changes manifest real time, and can be viewed right away by all members. Centralized document center can impose easy accessibility of files and documents, as well as sharing and retrieval.

  1. Virtual Work Teams

The idea of global working teams can now be achieved without the need for physical presence, thus lessening expensive travel and communication costs. This is done by collaboration features of establishing a virtual workspace, where team members can meet, communicate and exchange digital files and documents. Virtual work teams are highly scalable anytime, and dynamic because of its cross cultural and educational backgrounds.

Working with a diverse team both entail advantages and disadvantages. But for the benefit of the doubt, the highlight would be its advantages over establishing a more open and multi-perspective point of discussion and brainstorming. This can entail more creative inputs, and an inspiration for innovation to come up. Virtual work teams are coordinated using powerful communications medium supported by collaboration tools, which can effectively make every session or meeting worthwhile to execute.

  1. Real time interaction

As mentioned, online collaboration tools utilize both synchronous (real time) and asynchronous modes of work flow and communication. More opportunities and insights can be discovered from real time interactions among team members. Chat and video calls are types of real time interactions, and a more personal approach can result in more animated and lively brainstorming, and decision making.

Decision support through collaborative work systems is excellent because of the number of heads coming up with different views and insights about a mutual issue. However, it should be noted that overall decision making will still be coming from the leaders in the group, and this kind of collaborative working scenario still needs a moderator to achieve organized and subdued exchange of ideas and information.

  1. Task Management

Task management is the effective designation and delegation of tasks to individuals that match the knowledge needed to execute it. It is also the appropriation of achievable and realistic time frame for each task, that is should be coordinated accordingly among members of the group.

Task management is a way to achieve increased productivity in the workplace through division of labor. Since employees are not time-pressed, they can focus on uplifting the quality of task execution, and to other important core tasks that needs attention too.

Collaboration ensures that the execution of tasks will become more efficiently done because of the centralized working environment it promotes. Peers can simultaneously do their tasks, and communicating also. Files are easily updated and coursed through, without the need for other applications to be used. Collaboration softwares are perfect complements to implementing effective task management.

  1. Web Conferencing and Calendar Sync

Web conferencing is one way of real time communication and social interaction among members of the team. It engages more free exchange of insights and ideas that is supported with animated gestures and face to face communication. This can stimulate lively discussions and brainstorming in the process. It also helps members to be more comfortable in communicating because they see the face behind voice.

Calendar sync is a subset of project management that deals with timely delivery or execution of tasks. Members are alerted of their schedules through calendar scheduling that is synched with collaborative software dashboard. Collaborative calendars can also be updated by team members wherein they can input their other scheduled meetings that might conflict with other tasks.

  1. Workflow Management

Workflow management is an aspect of task management, only that it focus on aligning and streamlining work processes that happen within the sphere of collaborative networks. A manager of a moderator should impose leadership in ensuring that guidelines and ethics are observed all throughout.  It also should make sure that time frames and deadlines are observed, for the timely delivery of reports or outputs.

In addition, streamlined work flows should also be in accordance with the mutual set of goals that centers in the collaboration environment. All tasks should be aligned with that central goal, to maximize the benefits of collaborative software assisted workflow management.

The Future of Collaborative Software

Online based collaborative tools are in its state of rapid development, which utilizes the cloud as its base working station. The cloud, or the internet, is an expansive peer-to-peer and client-to-peer communication network, which branches its connectivity worldwide, overcoming geographical boundaries. The internet has changed, and is continuously changing, how the world operates in terms of fast transmission and wide accessibility of information. Nonetheless, the internet is the perfect venue to maximize outputs from a collaborative working environment.

Mobile collaboration software are also shaping the future of collaborative tools. It was said that mobile collaborative softwares, in the form of unified communications, will become default norm in the use of smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

To know more about the best online collaboration tools in the market, check this link here. Also, check out what the professional community say in their online collaboration tool reviews.

Keith Moore

Keith Moore has worked with several leading Android development agencies to build customized mobile apps enabling businesses to extend the use of their services to smart phones and mobile devices.

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